Beethoven, Moncayo, Ginastera.

COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Ginastera.,Moncayo
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: The Promise of Music
WORKS: A documentary by Enrique Sánchez Lansch. Concert – Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Moncayo: Huapango; Ginastera: Danza final
PERFORMER: Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel
CATALOGUE NO: 073 4427
Anyone who was fortunate enough to have attended last year’s sensational Proms performance from the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra under their charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel will want to view this inspirational and heart-warming DVD. The concert performances given by the orchestra in the Beethovenhalle Bonn convey all the frisson and youthful energy of the London performance, juxtaposing a propulsive Beethoven Eroica with feisty Latin‑American items by Moncayo and Ginastera. Little wonder that the normally reserved German audience responds with standing ovations after every piece. The Bonn concert is prefaced by a 90-minute documentary shot on location in Venezuela. It charts the preparations for the visit to Germany through the lives and experiences of a few members of the orchestra who have taken part in the country’s remarkable Sistema – a project founded in 1975 by José Antonio Abreu with the objective of using music as a means of weaning poor children off an existence that would almost certainly have been blighted by violence and drugs. Fascinating clips of some of the hundreds of children’s orchestras that have sprung up throughout the country attest to the fruits of Abreu’s vision. No doubt some sceptics will see the documentary merely as a skilful public relations exercise. Others however will take heed of Dudamel’s closing remarks (‘When every child has access to culture, the world will be a more mature and sensitive place’) and ponder on the ways in which the Venezuelan experience can be usefully harnessed to our rather different social environment. Erik Levi

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